As of today, May 15, 2020, 303,645 people have died from the coronavirus worldwide and 1,621,489 people have survived. My heart goes out to everyone who has lost a loved one or who has had to worry about a loved one who had the virus and survived.

It is a great act of love and dedication for the first responders to show up day after day. Thank you for being there for all the people who desperately needed you and for doing such a good deed at your own risk.

For people like myself who have been at home after losing my job, I am trying to use this time as an opportunity instead of a problem. Yes, I don’t have ANY money coming in, Yes, I don’t have any company but I have been writing which brings me a lot of joy.

I hope you have been making the best of your situation. Again, sorry for those who have lost a loved one. Keeping everyone in my prayers.
Jeannine Marie


When you feel like there is nothing left to live for, go numb. Don’t feel. Don’t feel until you can stop feeling sorry for yourself. When you go back in time and need someone to listen to your story, the one no one wants to hear again because you’ve told it a thousand times – the one that means everything to you – the one that tells the tale of everything you have been through – be silent. Be still. Don’t even think about anyone or anything, not even yourself. “But if everyone could understand what it feels like to be in my shoes or what they would have done if they were abused, raped, molested, giving up dreams just to be loved, to be a single mom while my daughter had an educated father who refused to take care of her financially or emotionally so everything was left for me to do, I know I’d feel better. If they could just understand he lives the life of luxury, not because he earned it, but because he stole it, I’d feel better.”

Telling yourself and everyone your story, the same story they are so tired of hearing, the same story you are tired of living, doesn’t make anything better. It doesn’t make anyone understand. They may even be saying to themselves and to you, “Oh my God – stop already. We know; we know what happened to you. You were dealt a bad hand. Now move on.”

Telling everyone who has told their story in the #metoo movement to move on would be unthinkable. It would be heartless. Yet it is not how these acts affected a person’s life we hear about. It is not the amount of tears they cried we talk about. It is not the choices they made because of what happened to them we discuss. It is the chant of the movement we hear about. It is the finger pointing bandwagon everyone jumps on. People will say, “That’s terrible.” But how many people really stop to think what it must have felt like or know how it changed a person’s life? They can’t really know if they haven’t been through it.

No one can imagine what their life might be like if they too went through what you’ve been through. They just don’t want to hear your story anymore. You may also want to stop telling your story. You want to stop associating something that is happening now with something that happened in the past. The story in your head where you blame yourself for everything because you feel everyone is judging you and wondering why you just can’t get your life in order or why you let whatever horrible thing that happened to you happen – you want is for that noise to stop. If you can’t stop it, get professional help, a great way to start a new story if you can’t do it on your own.

If everyone took the time to insert themselves in your story, I mean really insert themselves in your story; if they closed their eyes and took every single shitty thing that has happened to you one after the other, where would they be now? If they were made to feel like nothing, who would they have married? If their husbands didn’t have a great job that afforded them a great life, how would they be living if they had to raise their children on their own? People don’t insert themselves into your story because they can’t. You can’t know someone’s pain if you haven’t gone through what they’ve gone through. Your friends and loved ones may validate your story but inside you know they can’t possibly know exactly what you’re feeling. I don’t know what it feels like to lose a child and I hope I never do. Would I want to hear the story of how they lost their child for decades? Probably not. I too might be saying, “I know. I know. We all know you’ve lost your child. Now move on and remember them with joy.” The wounded parent knows they’ll never be the same. Their friends and family will know they will never be the same, but they will never understand how it feels, because they haven’t gone through it. It is that pain, those feelings we desperately want others to understand, never accepting they just can’t. Ask the parents of the murdered children of #Newtown. You’re never the same when you’ve been violated. You’re never the same when someone has taken something or someone away from you. Never!!!! So what do you do? You do the only thing you can do. Write a new story. Writing a new story doesn’t mean the horror of the past never happened, it just means you’re going to do your best to discover as much happiness as you possibly can because you’re still alive. You have two choices: Cry for the rest of your life or make the rest of your life mean something; most importantly, mean something wonderful and joyous to you. It is a choice.

The question is what kind of life do you want for yourself NOW? You’re in control NOW! It’s easy to drown in all your pain which results in the suffering that makes you feel like you can no longer breathe – that makes you WANT to no longer breathe. If you put all the years you’ve cried into one place you would have a body of water where you could literally drown. Don’t drown. Pop your head up and swim toward a new life. Move toward new goals. You can’t rewrite your past but you can write a new story for yourself. Who cares what people think. They haven’t walked in your shoes and that’s all you have to know. Hold your head up high. You may have had a losing hand for so many years with the cards you’ve been dealt, but there are always new cards to be dealt. How do you know you won’t get a royal flush this time or hit blackjack! As the saying goes, “You have to be in it to win it.”

How do you win at life? Don’t quit. Don’t you ever quit. Do whatever it takes to reach one goal at a time, even if that goal is to get out of bed today. Baby steps. You have to walk before you can run. When you’re ready, ask yourself if happiness is your goal instead of money. What do you want to do with your life? If it is something humanly impossible like flapping your arms and flying like a bird, then make an adjustment and go sky-diving or take a plane and fly somewhere you’ve always wanted to go.

On your journey to happiness, you might have to make many adjustments. You might have many obstacles; but never forget your goal. How will you get there? Only you can figure it out. If you want it badly enough, you’ll find a way to make your dreams happen. You’ll tell your old story in one sentence instead of walking yourself and everyone else in your life through all the pages of your pain. That new sentence will be: “I had a tough life but I wrote a new story and now I’m basking in glory.” Doesn’t that sound so much better than repeating your old tragedies over and over again to yourself and others? It doesn’t mean the cruel events of your life doesn’t matter, didn’t affect you, or wasn’t grossly unfair; but now you can use that story to inspire others by the new story you write for yourself. You’ll become an example of hope. That’s a story you can be proud of. YOU ARE CAPABLE OF CHANGING YOUR STORY. DON’T TALK ABOUT IT. JUST DO IT!!!!!

Posted in #goals #SelfHelp #SelfLove #Changemylife #Hope #Metoo| Tagged ABUSE, GOALS, MOTIVATION, SELF-HELP | Leave a reply


I recently accepted a job that pays me 65K less than the position is worth. It has been well over a decade since my salary was this low. “Take the job until you find the one for you and one that will pay you the salary you deserve.” Everyone I know repeated that sentence to me. My first inclination was to turn it down. In fact, I was insulted when I received my offer letter. Did they think I was an idiot? Did they think because I was a woman I would just say yes to a ridiculously low salary? Perhaps they accidentally left off a digit!!!!

I took everyone’s advice. A low paying job is better than no paying job. I was tired of consulting and was ready to call a place of employment my home away from home, Working for one firm would give me continuity. I was ready. So, I took the horrible paying job while I continued to look for a job that would pay me the going rate for a tax director.

By the second week after I started my new job, I received a call for an interview for twice the amount of money I was making. I turned it down. I told myself it wasn’t exactly what I was looking for. Within a month, I had three more calls for interviews. I turned them down.

Why was I turning away these great opportunities? The answer: I FOUND PEACE. I found peace at this law office, made up of tax attorneys, tax accountants, and myriad other positions. I also felt I could trust the man who runs the firm. Of the three men who interviewed me, only one wasn’t an attorney, but he is the person who runs the firm. He was the last person to interview me and when I asked about salary, he said, “I promise the firm will pay you as much as it can.” I don’t know why, but I believed him. When I received my offer letter however, I wasn’t prepared to see such a low number. I immediately felt like a fool for trusting him and called to tell him I wouldn’t accept the job. There was still that “something”, a gut feeling that made me believe he wasn’t lying to me. So what did that mean? Was the firm falling apart?

The firm isn’t falling apart. They are restructuring. In the meantime, resources are low. In place of the salary I deserve, I am the Director of the Tax Department and the people on my team are as nice as they are smart. One has a Doctorate in chemistry, one has three Master degrees, one is a CPA, two are Enrolled Agents, and the rest have varying degrees of tax experience. The partners of the firm are a father and son team and both are very kind. And the man I trusted, the one who runs the place, he is exactly whom he seemed to be at my interview. He is a man of integrity. He has a deep voice, deep blue eyes, and a very rare quality: honor. There is also a touch of movie star quality when he enters a room. He is extremely masculine but also very kind, caring, and sweet. He expects everyone to do their best and he leads by example. His grey hair is a reflection of his many years of experience.

So here I am, two months later, under-paid and the happiest I’ve ever been at a job. I rent out a room, which helps me to pay my bills. I thought I would hate having someone in my home, but he is a wonderful young man, a pilot, and I have given him a place to live where he feels comfortable and safe.

My daughter is getting married next month. She hasn’t lived at home for eight years and I miss her so much, even though I see her at least once a month or more. But now, I feel like I am a substitute mom for a young pilot, a guiding force the employees on my team, and I found my home at the law firm, which is exactly what I wanted and more.

I have faith, in time, the firm will prosper and I’ll start making more money again. In the meantime, all the support they have given me makes my job so much easier. They have trusted me to run the tax department the way I see fit and take the time to listen to any ideas I have for the firm. I believe I have found a work-environment where I can thrive. I wake up happy every day. I am at peace, which is priceless.


Some people don’t believe in #God. Some don’t believe in the power of the universe. But I experienced a miracle last night. So much so, I wept and wept for hours. My best friend of fifty years called and I couldn’t even speak to her. It took me quite a while before I could even drive back home. I just sat in my car, in total disbelief, in despair, grieving and grateful at the same time.

I started this blog really for parents of children. I started it to make a difference, to perhaps save a child from harm. But today as I passed my Christmas tree, I saw one of my ornaments sparkling in the light as if it was the only ornament on this heavily decorated tree. The ornament is not the miracle, nor what it said. The miracle happened last night and the ornament reinforced the power of love. The ornament is one shiny word: BELIEVE.

I visited my friend Tony last night. This April we will have known each other for forty years. I met him right before my 17th birthday in 1977 and two years later we were engaged to be married. Anybody and everybody who knows me is sick of this story I’m sure, but it helps to explain my gift from the universe, God, or whatever you believe in. Tony cancelled our wedding, after we had deposits on a band, flowers, a hall and a photographer. I was devastated. He was the first man I ever fell in love with, the first man I ever made love to, and the first man, other than the father I never met, who broke my heart. We stayed apart for a decade and were reunited at a friend’s funeral where we became the closest of friends. I relied on his opinion for a lot of things, especially fashion. A lot of gay men have a keen eye for what drapes the human body so it can look its best. Yes, that is why we didn’t get married. Tony is gay but we loved each other like the title of our #Streisand song, “Evergreen” Tony is dying now.  He has #LewyBodyDimentia. Some people group the illness with #Alzheimer’s disease. He was diagnosed at 54. He is 61 now. He can no longer walk, feed himself, or speak very well. He has been in a diaper for years now. I liked it better when I would try to get him on the toilet as he was losing his sense of balance, and we would be laughing and crying at the same time because from afar we looked ridiculous and in reality he knew he was losing his ability to wipe his own ass or even position himself on the bowl so he could poop.

Most of the time, Tony mumbles now. He may say a word or two clearly but mostly he just smiles and laughs or grunts if something hurts. During the first two hours of our visit yesterday, I fed him dinner, wiped his mouth, and picked up the food I inevitably drop while feeding him.

Most of the time, Tony mumbles now. He may say a word or two clearly but mostly he just smiles and laughs or grunts if something hurts. On a good day, he may even get out an entire sentence and respond intelligently to what you’re saying. Not enough for a paragraph, but a good sentence or two.  During the first two hours of our visit yesterday, I fed him dinner, wiped his mouth, and picked up the food I inevitably drop while feeding him. I was disappointed because he hadn’t said one word clearly last night at that point. He mumbled a lot and smiled a lot.

I wheeled him back to his room. We took a picture together in front of the tree his partner had put up in December. As usual, after dinner, we watch TV together. The #Notebook was on whatever station he had on the television. At first, I wanted to change the channel because I knew I would get upset but Tony and I were holding hands, Tony in his wheelchair that I relined back for him and me, sitting on a chair I had placed by his side. Toward the end of the movie, Ally mentally comes back to Noah for a short while, a brief break from #Alzheimer’s. I remembered someone telling me they should never have put that scene in the movie because the person never comes back. Just as I was remembering what I had been told, Tony clearly said the following: “I want Jeannine.” I jumped up and through my arms around him and said, “I right here sweetheart,” As I held him tight, he said, “I love you.” I began to cry, as I am as I write this. When I released my grip and looked into his eyes, he was lucid and said, “I know you’re busy.”. I sat back down and kissed his hand, mostly so he couldn’t see my tears. Still looking at his hand, I told him I will never leave him. He said, “I know.”

He didn’t speak again. I leaned against his arm, holding his hand and wiping my tears. Something else was playing on the TV now but I couldn’t tell you what it was because I was in another world now myself. When I finally pulled it together, I got him some ice water, one of his favorite things to drink, even when he was well, and he sipped all of it through his straw until there was nothing left. I hugged him and told him I would be back soon. I kissed him on his mouth, as I always do and waved as I walked away. He always smiles as I leave. I usually smile too, even as I walk out of the nursing home, just happy to have spent time with him. But last night, I wept as soon as I was out of his sight. I know for a short moment he came back to me. He spoke clearly. He was my Tony once more and that gift was also a curse. I wanted to see it only as a gift but I couldn’t. I begged God to give stop making my life so difficult. There has been too much suffering over the past fifty-six years. But then a calmness filled my body. I was able to see the night as a gift. I was able to see my life, my daughter, my home, and my great friends, all as gifts. I tried to commit #suicide twice and I was so happy to be alive, so grateful I didn’t succeed. 2017 is going to be a great year. It is my 40th anniversary with Tony, my 50th anniversary with my best friend Debbie, and best of all, my beautiful daughter is getting married. As usual, I started to pray that nothing goes wrong. I am always frightened. I am frightened that any joy I have will be short-lived and taken away from me, so I live my life in fear a lot of the time, fear and doubt. Today my mind was going back and forth between joy and fear. I was so grateful to be in my home, looking at my tree. I was grateful my daughter text me to see the choices she made for her registry. I was grateful I had a job. But then I thought about what I perceive as my failures, my weight, my inability to sell my books or make a difference in a child’s life, and my failure to serve my purpose through my charity, R.A.C.H.E.L.S bunk2bunk. It was then that I got up to get something to drink and saw that shiny ornament: BELIEVE. It was then that I thought about all the gifts in my life, some of which I couldn’t appreciate because my mind, or trauma, or just plain blindness, wouldn’t allow me to.

The name of my blog is a combination of my two children’s books: “Looking in the Mirror” and “Cuckoo Bananas”. The world is cuckoo bananas. Life is cuckoo bananas. I watched “Snowden” today. Some see him as a brave man trying to make a difference, others see him as a traitor. But it shows one person can make a difference. Tony still makes a difference in my life. My daughter makes my life worth living. My friends bring me peace when I lose my way. In this cuckoo bananas world I am one person. We are all individuals. My prayer for everyone is to experience their lives by choosing to see themselves as a miracle. We each touch lives, hopefully in a good way. As for me, I am choosing to continue my mission to make a difference. I am choosing to BELIEVE I can.





Violence in the World

It’s the holiday season and for many people in the world, tragedy is what they have to remember. #SandyHook must never be forgotten. The people murdered in #Orlando and Paris cannot be forgotten. Children lost in #Columbine and those suffering all over the world should be remembered.

Why do we have such #gunviolence and bombings? Some believe it is not the gun but the people behind the gun or the weapon of choice. The red tape in Washington and the mighty #NRA refuse to limit the access of automatic guns being sold without proper background checks, or fix the many loopholes that exist. Have any of them lost a child to gun violence or put themselves in the shoes of grieving parents!

#Mentalillness – two dirty words – not to be discussed without the risk of stigma. Years ago being gay was an illness to many because of ignorance. People are afraid of what they don’t know about or understand. We need to do a better job in understanding it is an illness, just like any other illness. People with depression don’t want to be sad or angry. They WANT to feel good and struggle with the war going on in their head. I have sufferd from #depression’ which is now under control with lots of help. I wake up happy every day even after the trauma I have been through or my diagnosis of PTSD. There – I said it for the world to see. I am no longer ashamed of it because I did not cause my trauma.

Lack of #selflove, especially as a child contributes to some of the violence. You cannot give what you do not have to give yourself. When you feel good about yourself, your capacity to love others grows exponentially. Let us try to change the world by teaching children to appreciate who they are, just the way they are and perhaps we can prevent violence in the future.

Please take the #lookinginthemirror challenge today and ask three people to do the same. Pass it on! Go on to my facebook page: Jeannine Marie or Jeannine Marie Author. You can also check out my web page at


Do you wake up in the morning and ask yourself, “What will I do today that will bring me joy?”
On any given day, I have a list of things I MUST get done and somehow a pleasurable activity like reading a good book, a bubble bath, flipping through a magazine, or dancing – rarely make it to the list.

How about simple joys:

Writing down what you’re greatful for
Really noticing the miracle of nature
Listening to music – really listening
#Meditation or
Smiling at a stranger.

Make some time for JOY each day and you and everyone around you will be happier and joyous!

Fear – It’s Not Just For Kids (Take My Challenge)

A lot of children have either started school or will be starting school soon. Some kids get excited about the first day of school but others may have anxiety or are just scared to death. Either way, don’t dismiss your child’s feelings by saying something like,”Oh, don’t be a baby.” All of us want to be validated, heard, and to feel safe – children, as well as adults.

Fear can be paralyzing. I haven’t worked on my books or blogs for quite some time. Why? I was afraid. There – I said it! Afraid of what??? – Failure, Success, the Unknown??? Whatever the reason, it has taken me all day to be brave enough to start again, to know I can succeed.

So how did I get past my fear and start back on my journey? I went all the way back to when I was in school; and at 55, that’s a long time ago. I started to list all my accomplishments:

1. I always did my homework and got A’s, even though my life at home was quite stressful.

2. I joined the Glee club even though I couldn’t sing, but singing brought me such joy and I made the club.

3. How could I possibly do a cheer in front of four girls sitting at a table just waiting to judge me? I did it and became a cheerleader.

4. How could I possibly finish college with no money and a broken heart after my fiance cancelled our wedding? But I finished.

5. How could I become a single mom and walk out of an abusive marriage with a daughter in private school? How was I going to live through a divorce with a “Tony Soprano” type man? Well, my daughter and I had a great time together in the new house I bought and although times were tough, she graduated without any loans from one of the best colleges in the NorthEast.

After focusing on my successes, the fear seemed less intimidating. I chose1  thing to do – this post – to get back in the swing of things, and I’m not afraid anymore.

So, here is the challenge:

Write down what you’ve been afraid of. Take the first step to crush the fear. A journey begins with the first step. You may not know the ending but isn’t it worse if you don’t try?Take until Labor Day and list some of your successes. Let us know if you’ve now been brave enough to take that first step and how you felt.

Good luck and I am looking forward to hearing about your progress and if you’ve been able to step ON fear-crushing it OR if it is still crushing you. Fear is a huge hurdle so be kind to yourself if you’re still stuck. Just know – You’re not alone.

As for me – I feel better already!





Have you ever asked your child a question and get a response of “fine”? So you ask another question, maybe: Do you like your teacher? Your child replies, “Yes”.

Here is a skill to engage your child in conversation so you learn more about their day and how they’re really feeling:

Try not to ask questions which will allow a one word answer. For example, try “Tell me about your day today. What is your favorite class so far and why? Who is your favorite teacher and why? What are your friends names?  What is it like on the school bus? What exactly did they serve for lunch and did you like it?

Now I don’t suggest you ask all of those questions at once. But start off with one or two questions a day and you will be more in touch with how your child is doing when you are not with him/her.

Believe me, this really works. I used to find out a ton of information from my daughter.

Good Luck!

New Beginnings

“Go get your mirror. Take it down from your shelf. Now look in your mirror and say, “I love myself.”  These lines are taken from my book, LOOKING IN THE MIRROR.

Each year we put so much pressure on ourselves to start a new goal. Start here; with loving your self. Until you master that, your dreams won’t feel as great if they do come true. So look in the mirror and as you brush your hair or teeth, take that one minute to really look at yourself, and reflect on your goodness, or the fact you deserve forgiveness, or list your accomplishments. Start off each morning with “I love me.” The rest will follow.

It is so much easier to attain your goals for 2014 when you believe in yourself. It is so much easier to believe in yourself when you love and care for the human being you are or strive to be.

Happy New Year and good luck. I hope all your dreams come true. They will – if you stop dreaming and MAKE them happen with that healthy sense of confidence you will attain by taking the time each day to appreciate who you are!


Like many children in the world, I grew up without a father. I never met him. My mom said I met him when I was five, but I don’t remember. Funny, since I remember so many things at that age.

I was told he didn’t want me or love me and once I was born, he left. I wasn’t even shown a picture of him until I was about eight. My grandmother showed it to me like it was a top secret document stolen from the CIA.

All my life, when people asked, I would say, ” I have a mom but I don’t have a dad.”  Most everyone would reply, “Sorry!”

Recently, I said the above in front of a friend and he gave me such a huge gift. He said,       ” Just because you’ve never met your dad, doesn’t mean he wasn’t real.” Someone said it out loud, without any judgement, without any horror stories about him. I never had the opportunity to have the perspective my father was real; a real person, not a monster.  I mean I knew he existed and people told me he was my father, but I never felt I had the right to truly claim him as my dad. It always just felt like a word to me “dad.” Underneath, I felt I never had a father because I never knew him.

I felt like a whole person when my friend Kevin said that to me. Sure, I heard it before, but not without some bitterness attached to it. It sounded so different coming from a friend or maybe it was because it came from a man.Whatever it was, I heard it, really heard it, for the first time.  I had a mother AND a father. Whether he acknowledged me or not, a fact is a fact, and the fact is, I have a dad, just like everyone else. In that moment, I felt like nothing was missing in my life. I have a real dad and not even he could deny it (were he still alive). WOW. It was a nice feeling. It didn’t matter he died before I could ever reach out to introduce myself to him. The fact is he was real; not just a title or a word. He was my father.

For those of you who never met your dad or the father of your children is not around, remember what Kevin told me – for me, it was one of the nicest things I’ve ever heard.

Your children are always going to want to love both parents, good or bad. Let them. Support them. Validate them. Both parents are real, no matter what they’ve done.